Making changes to the foods we eat is the most effective way to get healthy. The problem? It takes far less time to open a bag of doritos than it does to make a salad. And the doritos are tastier. While I’m fortunate to be able to stay home, the reality in most families is both parents work outside the home, so the time to make healthier choices is limited, especially when the kids are too small to be of any help in the kitchen. Even as a SAHM, I do food prep on weekends when Papa Bear is home and can watch Baby Bear. Here are a few things you’ll want to invest in to make food prep easier:
- Food Scale. Portion sizes are a lot smaller than you actually think, so the only way to guarantee you’re eating the right amounts is to weigh them.
- A GOOD knife. Not the 12-piece set from Target that’s $40, it will get dull far quicker, which can lead to dangerous situations, I’d post the picture of my finger pre-stitches but it’s too identifying. Not to mention a dull knife = longer to cut something, which means more time spent on food prep. One good chef’s knife will handle most tasks, so it’s the only one you’ll need. Most of the more expensive knives also come with free sharpening from the manufacturer so it will last much longer than a cheaper knife.
- A rice cooker with a steamer basket. The healthiest way to prep veggies is to steam them, and the rice cooker makes for much easier cleanup, I just throw the steamer basket in the dishwasher after each use and make sure to change out the water 2x/week. If you happen to have an infant at home getting ready to start foods, steaming them is also the best way to introduce veggies to babies since it makes them soft and easy to chew.
- Lots of tupperware. To keep all the food fresh and to make it easier to identify what food is in which container.
- Baking sheets to roast veggies and meats on.
- Cooling Racks. When you roast meats in the oven (boneless/skinless chicken breasts, for example), you don’t want them sitting on the baking sheet in their juices because it will mess up the crust and change the texture of the meat.
- A wood cutting board. To prep veggies, fruits and cheeses. No raw meat!
- A meat cutting board. Food safety/cross contamination.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way:
- Start with a clean kitchen, as much as possible.
- Get everything out first.
- Prep roasting foods first, since roasting usually takes the most time.
- For fruits, get bigger fruits such as melons or pineapples so you can cut them up at the beginning of the week and just grab as you need them.
- Watch for sales and stock up. Our grocery store usually does a big meat sale 1-2 times a month and I stock up on meats we eat a lot of and just freeze them. Make sure you get the freezer storage bags to avoid freezer burn.
This is getting long, so I’ll post part two next Wednesday!